This is something that, I feel, doesn’t get addressed enough in our community of Texas. Probably because Texas tends to be mostly sunny with average temperatures but it’s still darker longer during the winter and I don’t know about you but that affects me! As I mentioned in previous posts, this new season has been an adjustment but combined with moving to a new city and not knowing hardly anyone on top of it being freezing outside lately I felt the need to write a post about joy.
This is something that I hope will encourage you and bring this season back into perspective. Before I get into the ways to choose joy and beat those winter blues let me just say, you are not alone if you have been feeling a bit down or sad lately. It is normal, but there are things you can do to perk up a bit and choose to have a better day, one decision at a time.
- Watch the sunset one morning and take in the reality of a new day and new mercies that are being offered to you. (Lamentations 3:22-23) God gives us new mercies every morning but it is our choice whether or not we want to receive them. That is a whole other big topic that we won’t go too much into depth today. But for now, your prayer can be “Lord show me how to receive your mercies today.” Someone once compared mercy to the example of getting pulled over by a cop and not only does he not give you the ticket (grace) but he offers you a free Ferarri (mercy) as well. I didn’t fully understand mercy until it was explained in that way. And I don’t know about you, but I want his mercies. I want to take them and learn how to have mercy for myself as well.
- Listen to your current favorite worship song. And challenge yourself to focus solely on who God is to you in that moment. Is he your deliverer, restorer, prince of peace? Check out Isaiah 9:6 for some more nametags God has. During worship, it is very easy to sing along and let our mind drift. It takes discipline to truly worship through song. I say song because there are many ways to worship that is just one way. Worship is about Him not about how great you can harmonize with the artist or how holy you appear to be. No one is watching but him, and nothing is more humbling than worshipping the Lord when you are alone and have no one to “impress”. He looks at your heart and He’s looking for those that will worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Another challenge for you is to ask the Lord what song He wants you to sing. It could be one that has been written already or it may not be.
- Get out and go for a walk. I am all about getting that heart rate up in those HIIT workouts but sometimes it is good to slow down and take time to be present. I have been enjoying going for occasional walks near my apartment and they are so relaxing. It is a great way to get vitamin D and be a disciple of Christ at the same time. Cheesiness intended. I love walks because I’m able to still be by myself but I’m not alone. I treat it as a Jesus walking date. I get the best ideas for blogs and videos when I’m off my phone and spending time in nature. I know not everyone is energized by being alone in nature but find what works for you. And if anything, walking outside relieves stress, and we all need that during this season.
- Exercise. As I mentioned, I’m all about those HIIT workouts. They are a great, fast and easy way to get your heart rate up and burn some calories. And you don’t need a gym to do it. I haven’t had a gym membership in about 4 years because I enjoy home workouts much more. I usually do Fitness Blender’s videos on YouTube. They have a new workout every Monday. But lately I have hit a bit of a plateau so I am adding kickboxing into my routine. I know the couch, pizza and chocolate chip cookies can be very tempting but take it from me, you will have much more energy if you do 15 minutes of exercise. In the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy…”. It’s true!
- Spend time with friends. This is something I am committed to start taking more seriously. God has entrusted us with amazing people in our lives to do community with. It’s as easy as sending an encouraging text message, setting up a facetime date or going out for coffee. Being around people you love can bring so much joy into your life. Especially if those people are builders. Builders of people, dreams, and goals. You are extremely vulnerable to your thoughts and the lies of the enemy when you are alone for too long. So though I love alone time (Hello, my name is Denae and I’m an introvert), I can’t go without strong friendships.
I hope these were helpful to you. If so, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about your moments of joy:)